Apr 18 • Thomas Bartelsen

Long-Term Loyalty vs. Salary Boost: Navigating Job Hopping in Germany

Explore whether changing jobs in Germany can lead to better salary and career advancement. Get data-driven insights now.

Is "Job Hopping" a good call?

What does the term "job hopping" even mean? According to Destatis data, the length of employment considered "normal" is changing rapidly, as shown in the above statistic between 2012 and 2022.  

In 2022:
13,1 % worked less than a year for their employer
11,9% in between one to three years
13% in between three and five
19,2% in between five and ten
42,8% more than ten

Considering this data, "job-hopping" becomes very difficult to narrow down. Noticeable is that more than 60% stay more than five years and almost forty percent stay less than five. In this context, it could be argued that any tenure below three years could start the term "job hopping." Now if that is for example a severe general layoff or another explainable reason, this term really vanishes into unimportance. Also it might depend on the frequency of changing. 

In today's fast-paced and competitive job market, many professionals in Germany decide how often they should switch jobs to increase their salary and advance their careers. Job hopping for a higher wage is a common strategy that many consider. Still, it's essential to consider the data and statistics behind this decision.

Let's consider statistics here.

Based on a McKinsey Study, job changes, on average, led to a 30% increase in salary. 

Suppose you switch to a job similar to your current one. According to a federal employment institute study, you can earn an average of 3,500 Euros more.
A third study is specifically engaging. Key findings of the research at the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) TR 224, Universität Bonn, here are the top three insights:

Key Findings of the Study:

Job Level Significance in Wage Growth: Research from the CRC shows that moving to higher job levels within the same occupation significantly impacts wage growth. This suggests that wages are determined by the type of job and the complexity, autonomy, and responsibility associated with each job level. For example, two bakers doing similar tasks can earn different wages if their responsibilities and autonomy differ.

Impact of Education on Career Advancement: The data indicates that educational attainment, particularly a college degree, is crucial in promoting workers to higher job levels, resulting in wage increases. This highlights the importance of education in career advancement and not just initial job placement.

Gender Wage Gap and Promotion Disparities: The research finds that the gender wage gap is primarily due to disparities in promotions and career progression dynamics, particularly around the age of 30. While men continue progressing up the career ladder into their mid-40s, women's career progression tends to stall, often due to maternity leave, part-time work, or shifts to more family-friendly job roles. This stalling effect contributes to a widening gender wage gap over time.

These findings underscore the significance of job levels in wage structures and the influence of educational and gender factors on career trajectories.

Overall, deciding to stay with one company or switch jobs for salary increases in Germany will depend on various factors, including industry norms, company culture, and individual career goals. It's essential to carefully weigh the benefits and drawbacks of job hopping based on data-driven insights to make informed decisions about salary growth and career progression.

 A project manager benchmarked across industries is an excellent example of vast differences that exist.

Job happiness study 

How sustainable is this, and also, does that make you happy?

A recent study by Ernst & Young in 2023 revealed a high salary in place 5 with 33%. That question was not ranking but allowed for multiple selections. The other places were covered by:

Winner (58%): Good relationship with direct colleagues
Second place (58%): a good working climate
Third (42%): A challenging/interesting job
Fourth (35%): Flexible working hours.

When it comes to your job, what is most important to you?

Is it simply earning as much money as possible, regardless of other factors?

Or do you prioritize balancing financial compensation and other aspects of your work, such as job satisfaction, work-life balance, and personal fulfillment?

Furthermore, do you tend to focus on short-term goals, such as earning enough money to make ends meet monthly, or are you more interested in mid- or long-term goals, such as building a career or saving for retirement?

Finally, what is your current financial situation like? Do you need help to make ends meet, or do you feel comfortable with your current income level?

A recruiters opinion

It can be argued that changing jobs more than twice within three years without significant reasons, such as a layoff, can classify a person as a "job hopper." However, if you stay at a job for at least three years, it can put you in a safer position depending on the company culture.

A strategic approach to career advancement can significantly impact your long-term success and satisfaction. Instead of job hopping for salary increases, consider focusing on internal growth and skill development to increase your value as a professional. Here are some insights and tips based on this approach:


Internal Mobility: Before considering external job changes, explore opportunities for internal mobility within your current organization. Moving to different roles or departments can broaden your skill set, expand your network, and showcase your adaptability to potential employers.


Individual Development Plans (IDPs): Work with your manager to create an IDP that outlines your career goals, development areas, and actions needed to achieve them. Utilize company resources, training programs, and mentorship opportunities to enhance your skills and competencies.


Skill Enhancement: To stay competitive, focus on continuous learning and skill enhancement. Take on challenging projects, seek additional responsibilities, and pursue certifications or training courses that align with your career goals.


Problem-Solving Mindset: Remember that you are paid for your ability to solve problems and add value to the organization. Embrace challenges as opportunities to showcase your skills and critical thinking abilities. The more complex the problem you can address, the greater your potential for advancement and increased compensation.


Value Over Salary: Instead of chasing salary increases, prioritize opportunities that allow you to further develop your skills, contribute meaningfully, and make a tangible impact. By demonstrating your value through your problem-solving abilities and expertise, salary adjustments will naturally follow as a reflection of your contributions.

Focusing on internal growth, skill development, and solving challenging problems within your current organization can position you for long-term success and advancement. Continuous learning, adaptability, and a problem-solving mindset are critical factors in increasing your value as a professional and attracting opportunities for career progression and salary growth.

It is important to note that while some companies value diverse experiences and skills gained from job hopping, more conservative or traditional companies may still prioritize stability and loyalty.

Frequent job changes may be perceived as a lack of commitment or the inability to work well within a specific company culture. Therefore, it is essential to carefully assess the organizational values and industry norms of the companies you are targeting, as excessive job hopping may potentially limit your prospects with such employers.

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Okay, what should I do now?

In conclusion, instead of solely focusing on job hopping for salary increases in Germany, individuals should prioritize long-term career growth by exploring internal mobility and skill development within their current organization. By leveraging internal opportunities, professionals can broaden their skill sets, demonstrate adaptability, and showcase their problem-solving abilities. Individuals can naturally increase their earning potential by employing a strategic approach emphasizing continual learning and adding value to organizations. Seeking guidance from career counselors and industry experts can provide valuable insights and personalized advice to support informed decision-making. Individuals can pave the way for lasting success and job satisfaction by aligning career goals with sustainable professional growth.

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